Tier: Tier 1
Humans is a tribal aggro deck that combines the explosive starts of a critical-mass creature deck with the disruptive elements of Hatebears. It makes maximum use of rainbow mana-fixers such as Unclaimed Territory and Cavern of Souls to run the most powerful options in any color available to the tribe.
In many ways Humans looks like a typical tribal deck, employing lords like Thalia’s Lieutenant and Mayor of Avabruck to pump the team. These aggressive starts are made much more robust with the addition of the disruption package, headlined by the trio of Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Meddling Mage, and Kitesail Freebooter. Because these elements are all Human creatures, they can provide interaction and utility without diluting the core game plan of tribal beatdown. Mana acceleration in Noble Hierarch and Aether Vial allows the deck to flood the board with threats early, while the disruption buys the deck the few critical turns it needs to deliver a lethal attack.
Precursors to the current build of Humans include various multicolor aggressive decks built around Ancient Ziggurat or Collected Company. Some of these builds were true Humans tribal, built to maximize the power of Thalia’s Lieutenant and Champion of the Parish. These slanted towards Naya colors and often employed Collected Company for extra oomph. Other builds centered around Ancient Ziggurat, aiming to play the best creatures at every spot on the curve available in Modern regardless of color commitment.
These decks have existed for a while, but they never put up significant finishes until Collins Mullen took his build of Humans on an undefeated run en route to winning the SCG Cincinnati Open in 2017. Ixalan‘s additions to the archetype in Unclaimed Territory and Freebooter have been instrumental in its newfound success. The rainbow land adds consistency to the manabase without severely restricting card choice, while the Pirate provides an on-tribe Thoughtseize effect to replace Tidehollow Sculler.
Since Mullen’s finish, Humans has shot up rapidly to cement its place in Tier 1, with a rash of MTGO League finishes and regular placing at other major events.